The Weymouth-based MV Freedom is a specially adapted boat with full wheelchair access which regularly provides trips to sea for those less able or with learning difficulties, in a safe, enjoyable and comfortable environment. Friends of MV Freedom – a registered charity run on an entirely voluntary basis by its dedicated committee, skipper, crew and supporters – was delighted to receive a donation towards the running and upkeep of their boat. The Master and Charity Steward of the Dorchester-based Lodge of Faith and Unanimity, accompanied by their wives, visited Weymouth Quay earlier this week to present the cheque.
Pictured above is the Master of the Lodge, Terry Bromberg (2nd Right) and the Lodge’s Charity Steward, Roger Bassnett (far right). A cheque for £2,405 was given to Jennie Jackson, chairman of Friends of MV Freedom and her dedicated team of Trustees and volunteers. The money has been raised by members of the Lodge over the past 9 months through donations from the members, raffles, social events, and the profits from a successful ladies' night held at Weymouth Golf Club during Terry’s year in the chair.
A few months ago the Freemasons of Dorset determined to install automated external defibrillator (AED) machines outside or near to all of the places where they meet as part of their Freemasonry in the Community initiative, and as a tribute to the Her Majesty the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee year. There are 17 such masonic meeting places throughout Dorset.
It was intended that this life-saving equipment would be readily available for members of the public to use in cases of emergency, as well as for their own members. The equipment is conveniently located at points accessible to the public in a highly visible green cabinet, with notices high up on a nearby wall, and with a bright green light displayed during the hours of darkness. Emergency access is obtained by calling the ambulance service using the emergency 999 number and receiving the access code to the equipment. The AED is then easily portable and can be used by untrained people under instruction from ambulance control over the telephone or, if necessary, by automated instruction from the machine itself.
One such device is located outside the Heritage Suite in Bell Street, Shaftesbury, and one morning recently a lady collapsed with a suspected cardiac arrest in the nearby county library. As the emergency call was made, ambulance control advised where the equipment was located and provided the caller with its release code. A member of staff was dispatched to collect the device, which was then speedily released from its storage box, transported to the scene of the emergency and unpacked ready for use.
The rapid arrival of the emergency services and their successful resuscitation of the patient meant that the AED was not required to administer a shock on this occasion, and the equipment was returned unused to await the next emergency. A man who viewed the whole incident was glowing in his praise for the availability of the equipment, saying: 'This is going to save a life one of these days, what a good job someone thinks about these things.'
On hearing about the incident the Provincial Grand Master for Dorset, Richard Merritt, said 'This is an example of how our Province-wide initiative was intended to work and it is gratifying to learn that the Shaftesbury machine, installed less than 6 weeks ago, has already been seen to be available as a most valuable and timely service to the community at large.'
Every Province looks for ways to raise money for their festivals. Dorset has decided to do it from a great height, by challenging their brethren to take a 10,000 feet tandem skydive. Little did they know that the first volunteer to take up the challenge would be Mrs Mary Rousell, wife of W Bro John Rousell of Brownsea Island Lodge No. 9689, to celebrate her 70th birthday. A mother of two grown up children and with three grandchildren, Mary has always been an active fund-raiser for Action for Children, and is currently chairman of Friends for Guiding Brownsea Island. Her husband John said, 'as soon as she heard about it she signed up'.
W Bro Ray White, of Portland Lodge No. 1037, who is organising the event did his first jump this year, was so enthusiastic about it he decided that if he could challenge all the lodges in Dorset to send a volunteer to represent their lodge, it would make a great day out as well as raise funds for Dorset’s RMBI 2014 Festival. Jumpers must pay a deposit of £50, and then raise sponsorship to a minimum of £325.
Set for May 2013 at Old Sarum Airfield, Salisbury, Ray is hoping he can attract not only Dorset masons, but also brethren or their families from neighbouring Provinces. He said that there is no upper age limit, and the oldest person to jump at Salisbury was 93.
Dorset's bighearted lifesaving initiative
On Wednesday 18th July, the official unveiling of the first of the planned 17 automated external defibrillators (AED’s) to be provided outside each of the 17 masonic meeting halls throughout Dorset over the next two months, took place at the Masonic Hall in Howard’s Lane, Wareham.
With a valued contribution from the Grand Charity, and substantially through the auspices of the Province of Dorset’s own charity Dorset Masonic Care, and in conjunction with Arrhythmia Alliance, Dorset has now financed the purchase and installation of these publicly available and easily accessible life-saving pieces of equipment in commemoration of Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and as part of their Freemasonry in the Community initiative.
Pictured here with the Mayor of Wareham, Councillor Keith Green, at the official unveiling of the AED outside the Wareham Masonic Hall, the Provincial Grand Master for Dorset, RW Bro Richard Merritt, said 'We are very conscious of the fact that we are providing a facility for our local communities which, in a bizarre way, we would hope would never need to be used'.
'They can and do, however, save lives, and should the need ever arise it is our profound hope that this equipment will do just that'. After the official unveiling, speaking on behalf of the people of Wareham, the Mayor said 'We are indebted to the Freemasons of Dorset for providing this equipment and I have great pleasure in declaring this facility open and readily available to the people of Wareham'.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) strikes without warning, killing 100,000 people in the UK every year – that’s 250 people a day. In the UK, less than 5% of victims survive SCA out of hospital and it kills more people than lung cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined. SCA can happen to anyone, regardless of age or fitness. SCA could happen in a shopping centre, on a football field, whilst out walking the dog; it can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere. Combined with CPR, defibrillation is the only effective treatment.
The 40 or so guests at the launch held in the masonic meeting room - which included the Lady Mayoress, Mrs Vera Green, the Town Clerk, Mr Rod Curtis, a number of Council dignitaries, Dorset Masonic Care executive members and local Freemasons and their wives - heard a very informative talk accompanied with video presentations from Peter Wray-Cook, Clinical Support Officer with the NHS, SW Ambulance Service. He stressed the need for the public to 'have a go' in the event that someone needs urgent, first intervention before the emergency service arrived on the scene.
'Every minute is vital and the use of this equipment, which gives clear verbal instructions through its built-in, fully automated monitoring system, actually talks the user through the vital CPR [chest compressions] and advises when and if and how to apply a shock to the patient’s heart, providing the emergency services with a huge advantage and far greater chance of saving a life when we arrive on the scene'.
This installation, now fully operational, requires a 999 call to be made to access the equipment. It is to be rapidly followed by similar installations at the masonic halls in Beaminster, Blandford, Branksome, Bridport, Dorchester, Gillingham, Kinson, Lyme Regis, Poole, Portland, Shaftesbury, Sherborne, Sturminster Newton, Swanage, Weymouth and Wimborne.
Speaking on behalf of Arrhythmia Alliance, Trudie Lobban said, 'This is the largest single donation of this life-saving equipment by any organisation in the UK'.
'The extremely generous donation to A-A made by the Freemasons of Dorset will ensure life-saving equipment is available in the Dorset area'.
'In the event of an SCA the first few minutes are vital – for every minute without defibrillation, chances of survival decrease by 10%. With all the best intentions, it is often impossible for emergency services to reach a patient within the required timeframe (due to location, distance and/or traffic congestion). It is paramount that emergency life-saving equipment is made available and accessible for public use until emergency services arrive on scene'.
Bournemouth mayor Cllr Phil Stanley-Watts said: ‘We are truly indebted to the Freemasons of Dorset for this magnificent gift to the local community.’
The vehicle was found wasting away in a builder’s yard and after some negotiations and a good clean-up, it was fitted with a ‘Freemasonry in
the Community’ sign and driven around local shopping centres to advertise a masonic presence at the annual Bournemouth Air Festival.
Hampshire and Isle of Wight linked up with the Province of Dorset at the festival – although Bournemouth is officially in Dorset, it masonically remains in Hampshire. The two Provinces promoted Freemasonry through the Hampshire and Isle of Wight exhibition unit.
Clarabelle can look forward to future outings following the decision by Hampshire and Isle of Wight to work with the Jubilee Sailing Trust charity to help disabled sailors put on their annual pumpkin festival. The aim is to set a world record of the greatest number of scarecrows in one field.